3 Medical Marketing Insights From StoneArch's Jessica Boden

MedicalMarketingInsights_JessicaBoden.png“We don’t even think about healthcare marketing not being ‘sexy’ because it’s all in how you bring a client’s brand and products to life,” reveals Jessica Boden (above), president of StoneArch, the Minneapolis-based health and medical marketing agency with a client roster that includes Medtronic, Nuvasive, St. Jude Medical and Medela. Whether her agency is creating salmonella “plushies” for a crowd funding campaign or enlisting its staff of 40 in its annual “Redeye Rebrand” (a 24-hour marathon of pro-bono work for nonprofits like One Heartland), the 30-year-old agency makes the often-serious industry of healthcare look seriously fun.

How do these campaigns come to life? Here are three insights that marketers can take away from StoneArch's most innovative campaigns:

1.) Clients are marketing products and services that weren’t considered part of healthcare, but are now covered by insurance.

A great example of this trend is Medela, the world’s leading provider of breast pumps. When the Affordable Care Act came out with a benefit for expecting moms to receive a free breastfeeding pump through their health insurance providers, it created a significant shift in Medela’s business model. Historically, a breast pump was a retail purchase decision. A mother would often put the pump on her registry as one of those higher ticket items and that was that. Now, Medela was faced with positioning its breast pumps as a premium healthcare product – and that’s where StoneArch’s partnership came in.

StoneArch found that not only was the landscape changing in terms of the insurance benefits for new mothers, but families have also changed dramatically. Millennial moms and families make up the majority of families that are having babies today, and how they search for healthcare information and who they trust to guide them through medical decisions is very different than prior generations. This insight led the agency to launch a Medela campaign last October called, Through it all.

Through it all’ features real families from across the country with the intention of helping moms navigate the world of breastfeeding. “We’ve produced over 50 videos for the website, but the beauty of the site goes beyond the testimonials of mothers sharing their stories. It’s about moms sharing practical wisdom with other moms,” shares Boden. “A mom can go to Medela’s site and ask: ‘How am I going to make breastfeeding at work – work?’ And these videos will show how different families handle that challenge.” By providing useful advice from parents in both video and text forms, the Medela site has become a valuable resource for breastfeeding families, which is evident in the campaign’s results. To date, the site has received over 68,000 visitors, 89,000+ unique page views and over 19,000 video views. In addition, the campaign garnered nearly two million views on Facebook and YouTube.


“‘Through it all’ definitely was a shift for the breast pump category and it’s been really fun to see the impact to date,” says Boden. 

2.) Whether it’s establishing a social media presence or going With a fully responsive web design, a strong digital footprint is not a one-size-fits all in medical marketing. 

“Digital is always transforming and what we see clients struggling with is how to keep up with that rapid transformation. Some have just gotten their websites fully responsive and now they need to continue to evolve,” notes Boden. “It is a constantly changing channel and you need to stay ahead of the curve by asking yourself, how do you leverage online channels in a way that’s going to be most impactful?” 


The Medical Alley Association, Minnesota’s only health technology trade group, wanted to create a new brand identity for the 32-year-old organization – and ultimately propel the organization as the engine to drive global health innovation.Shaye_Mandle.jpg

“Our brand refresh consisted of a new look, logo and confident voice (as seen in its reskinned Twitter page on the left), which catapulted the organization’s persona at the regional, national and global level,” says Boden. In fact, right after the rebrand, media sources were interviewing Medical Alley president and CEO Shaye Mandle (pictured right) on a weekly basis. In just three months after its launch, the site skyrocketed to 100,000 page views (more than all of 2015 combined) and helped add over 500 new contacts to Medical Alley’s database.

3.) Medical marketers must understand what will motivate healthcare decision makers.

“Healthcare decision makers are looking for a value-based opportunity, so they’re going to be more concerned with efficiency and price than the acute performance of a medical product. By understanding those nuances, before messaging, marketers can make sure their work is effective for key stakeholders and decision makers, expands Boden. 

StoneArch used this insight in a recent branding campaign for the Well Living Lab, a joint effort between Mayo Clinic and Delos that was jumpstarted by the startling statistic that Americans spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors. A first-of-its-kind research facility, the Well Living Lab is designed to study the real-world impact of indoor environments on human health. The end goal of the facility is to produce evidence-based information that will lead to new products and innovations that improve the nation’s health.


According to Boden, the Well Living Lab brand identity needed to connect not only with investors and potential research partners, but also with consumers – the end-users of potential products and technologies. To reach these consumers, StoneArch started by creating a brand color palette to play off of the brand’s optimism and innovation. These colors consist of a lively teal, highlighter yellow, subtle hues of gray and strips of white (see above). Next up was the logo (featured in the sales collateral below) that “captures the essence of the Lab’s physical boundaries (through its teal outline) while also leaving room for new opportunities (an open door),” explains Boden. Furthermore, the tagline “Indoor health starts here,” communicates that the Well Living Lab invites the user to focus on indoor health initiatives with them.


The responsive single-page, scrolling website of The Well Living Lab features relatable lifestyle imagery and relevant questions related to indoor health. “The intention behind the graphic overlays over lifestyle imagery was to make the connection between people and the science behind our indoor worlds,” explains Boden. 

The branding campaign proved to be a value-based opportunity for the Mayo Clinic and Delos collaboration. Since its launch in September 2015, the Well Living Lab has caught the eyes of potential investors, research partners and member organizations. The brand also generated national media attention from the Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Forbes and Fast Company.

To discover more about StoneArch and its work in health and medical marketing, please visit www.stonearchcreative.com/.

Full Disclosure: Our Maccabee PR agency has partnered with StoneArch on past clients.


Image Sources: Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal, StoneArch

About the Author

Becky Prosser

Becky Prosser is a former Maccabeast.

Topics:  Brand Strategy

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